We’ve all been there. Lunch is still hours away yet your stomach is making so much noise you could swear that there is an angry mob outside the building chanting, “We want food. We want food.” What to do? Snack!
Our bodies are amazing machines, but they have to have fuel in order to work efficiently. Think of a car. Would you be able to drive from coast to coast on three tanks of gas? No way! How can you expect your body to make it from sun up to sun down on three meals a day? You shouldn’t. Snacking has a lot of benefits, let’s touch on a few of them.
Snacking throughout the day is helpful with portion control. When you feed your body every 2.5 to 3 hours, you aren’t deprived for long enough periods of time that you feel like you’re “starving”. Since you never get to the point where you feel like you could eat half a horse, you are more likely to control your portions at mealtime which avoids overeating.
Snacking helps maintain steady blood sugar levels. This is imperative to weight loss. If you are only feeding your body three times a day, there is some spiking and crashing going on with your blood sugar levels. When you eat every 2.5 to 3 hours, it maintains a nice steady blood sugar level, making it much easier for you to lose weight. Not to mention, when your blood sugar levels spike then crash and then spike again and crash again, it will affect your energy level as well. When they spike, you feel like you are on top of the world and you could go all day, but when they start heading south and keep on going, you feel fatigued, cranky and lethargic. All of this can be avoided by an apple and a string cheese or four stalks of celery with 1 tablespoon of all natural peanut butter.
Snacking also aids in boosting your metabolism. This is another biggie for weight loss. Your metabolism is like a campfire. If you want the fire to continue to burn, you have to keep adding wood (energy) for the fire to burn. If you put a little bit of wood on the fire every 3 hours it will burn pretty constant. Now if you put half a log on the fire every 6 hours, it will burn really hot for a little while, but will gradually start to fade out again.
Which fire would you rather sit in front of?
Okay, you get the idea, snacking IS GOOD FOR YOU! I thought I’d share a bit of information to help you get started. A snack should be between 100 and 200 calories. A meal should be closer to 400 to 500 calories. Meals and snacks should both contain a complex carb, a protein and a healthy fat. I thought I’d share some of my favorite snacks to get you started.
A greek yogurt with a few almonds
Veggies with hummus – Seriously, skip the ranch dressing. That stuff is NASTY, have you looked at the fat grams on the nutrition label of that stuff? It’s like a pre-packaged heart attack. Just shake, open and serve. Blech!
A piece of fruit and a low fat string cheese
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup yogurt mixed together
An Oroweat sandwich thin with a little bit of peanut butter and honey
A protein shake and a banana
Just have fun with it! Happy Snacking!